Books on Azerbaijan
Update No: 290- (25/02/05)
Aliyev in New York
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, who is fluent in English, addressed the U.N.
General Assembly on January 28th, an enormous asset for a world statesman these
days. He told them that Armenians are illegally settling in his country.
"Armenia has launched an outrageous policy of massive illegal settlement of
the Armenian population into the occupied Azerbaijani territories, which is a
blatant violation of the international law," he said. "The conflict
has forced more than 1 million Azerbaijani people to become refugees. The
situation deteriorates with the use of these territories for drug trafficking,
arms transfers, harbouring terrorists, illegal economic activities and
Azerbaijan has asked for U.N. participation in returning the refugees to their
Azerbaijani homes. The two countries have long been in contention, the
Azerbaijani a Muslim nation historically allied with Iran and Turkey, and the
Armenians a Christian people who accuse the Turks of genocide in the early 20th
Aliyev criticized the U.N Security Council for having a passive and silent
attitude on the migration issue. "We expect a more responsive strategy by
the United Nations in relation to the situation of a forgotten humanitarian
crisis in Azerbaijan," Aliyev said.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev receives OSCE MG delegation
There is another international organisation, however, that is not ignoring the
issue. On January 29 Aliyev received at the Presidential Palace in Baku the
delegation of the "OSCE Minsk Group fact-finding mission on illegal
settlement of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan
occupied by Armenia", and persons accompanying them.
The Head of the Azerbaijan State expressed hope that the visit of the
fact-finding mission would be useful. The President stressed the importance of
the current format of talks on settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorny
Karabakh conflict with involvement of the foreign ministers. President Ilham
Aliyev underlined adherence of Azerbaijan to its position, emphasizing that this
position is based on international legal principles - territorial integrity of
countries and inviolability of borders.
Speaking on behalf of the Minsk Group co-chairs, the Russian co-chair Yuri
Merzlyakov said the proposals of the Azerbaijan President on the current
processes of talks on settlement of the conflict and the activity of the
fact-finding mission was very important.
Energy to the fore
The main reason that the rest of the world is interested in Azerbaijan is
energy. Not only does it possess 31bn of proven oil reserves, it is also the
natural conduit for Kazak oil to flow to the West.
But having a lot of oil to sell abroad does not mean that a country has solved
all its own energy problems. The World Bank and Azeri government agreed to start
discussions on technical issues related to the project of a new electricity
transmission system in Feb. 2005; the parties also discussed a World
Bank-Azerbaijan cooperation programme for 2006-2009 and decided to monitor the
country's transport and utilities sector to further implement concrete projects
in these fields.
A World Bank mission on the "Electricity Transmission System" US$40
million project is due to visit Baku shortly to launch official talks with the
government on its implementation. The "Electricity Transmission
System" is designed to increase the reliability of the national electricity
grid by reducing the loss of electricity in the course of transportation.
Aliyev in Iran; opening to the south
Iran is not only a very important neighbour of Azerbaijan, having more ethnic
Azeris in its northern province of the same name than in the former Soviet
republic. It is the key to Azerbaijan opening up to the south - exactly what it
was forbidden to do under Soviet domination. Aliyev is as keen as his father to
rectify this situation.
Aliyev arrived in Tehran on January 24th for an official three-day visit at the
invitation of President Mohammad Khatami of Iran and in response to the latter's
visit to Azerbaijan in August 2004.
While in Tehran Aliyev held talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali
Khamenei, President Mohammad Khatami, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani and several other senior officials focusing on bilateral and regional
cooperation. The two countries' officials signed nine memoranda of understanding
(MoUs) and issued a joint press statement before their departure from Tehran.
Khatami and Aliyev stressed the need of continuation of talks to determine the
legal regime of the Caspian Sea. Talking to reporters after signing 10 documents
on expansion of bilateral cooperation, Khatami said negotiations in regards to
the legal regime of the sea are underway in a friendly atmosphere and with
understanding. "The (important) issue is that this valuable sea belongs to
its five littoral states which will benefit from its resources through
safeguarding this god-given asset," he added.
Shifting to mutual cooperation on the North-South corridor, Khatami stated that
joint cooperation between Russia, Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan could
entail 'important outcomes.' "This corridor can be activated through the
connection of Azerbaijan's railways to Iran's and by very important connecting
roads between the two countries." He pointed to a memorandum of
understanding signed between the two states on the expansion of railway
cooperation and assessed connecting the North of Eurasia to the Persian Gulf and
Oman Sea via Iran and Azerbaijan as an important development in the region.
Expanding his vista even further, he said: "It will be also the most
appropriate way from the West and the North of Eurasia to Central Asia and the
Indian subcontinent." Not only Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan would enjoy
benefits from the North-South corridor, but it would be a strategic way for the
entire international economy, which should be taken seriously. Where roads and
railways lead the way, oil and gas pipelines may surely follow.
SOCAR ups oil exports via Novorossiisk in 2004
Azeri state oil company SOCAR shipped 2.559m tonnes of oil out of the port at
Novorossiisk in 2004, a 3.1% increase from the year prior, SOCAR said recently.
Oil transport via the Baku-Novorossiisk route came to 2.424m tonnes, 2.8% less
than in 2003, SOCAR put 163,000 tonnes through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline in
December 2004 alone. It plans to export 2.5m tonnes of oil in 2005 as a whole.
SOCAR transported 215,000 tonnes of oil through this pipeline for Azerbaijan
International Operating Company in 2004, New Europe reported.
AIOC reports bigger oil extraction in 2004
Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), the operator for developing
the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli deposits in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea,
extracted 6.570m tonnes of oil at Chirag under the Early Oil project in 2004, a
1.8% increase from 2003, Interfax reported recently.
In December there was production of 628,000 tonnes of oil, 13.6% higher than the
Oil exports from the Georgian port of Supsa came to 6.297m tonnes in 2004, up
1.25%, including 600,000 tonnes in December alone. Early Oil project oil
production began in November 1997 which saw the extraction of a little over
50,000 tonnes of crude and production has increased steadily with each passing
year: 2.371m tonnes in 1998, 4.814m tonnes in 1999, 5.073m tonnes in 2000,
5.897m tonnes in 2001, 6.387m tonnes in 2002 and 6.456m tonnes in 2003.
The contract for working Azeri, Chirag and the deep-water part of Guneshli was
signed on September 20th, 1994, and began on December 12th that year. Project
participants now are British Petroleum (34.1367%, the operator), Unocal
(10.2814%), ExxonMobil (8.0006%), Devon Energy (5.6262%) and Amerada Hess
(2.7213%), Azeri state oil company SOCAR (10%), Inpex Corp (10%) and ITOCHU Oil
(3.9205%), Statoil (8.5633%) and TRAO (6.75%).
Restoration of Georgia-Azerbaijan gas pipe ends
Restoration of the gas pipeline connecting Georgia and Azerbaijan has come to an
end, Georgian Fuel and Energy Minister, Nika Gilauri, said in Tbilisi recently,
New Europe reported.
"Over €500,000 has been spent on refurbishing the pipeline with annual
throughput capacity of 800m cubic metres of gas." The minister said
completing rehabilitation activities would allow talks with Russian Gasprom and
its export operator Gasexport to start transportation of natural gas from Russia
to Azerbaijan via Georgia. The pipe may also be used to import gas from Iran,
Gilauri said. Late in January, the Georgian minister is expected to visit Iran
to hold talks on gas supplies from Iran in exchange for supplies of electric
power in the summer. A grant is also to be received from Iran, which would be
utilised for increasing the capacity of the gas pipeline to 3-4bn cubic metres.
SOCAR chooses Total for supply diesel contract
Azeri state oil company, SOCAR, has signed a contract with France's Total to
supply 200,000 tonnes of diesel in 2005, a source in the company said recently,
Interfax News Agency reported.
"Initially the tender to buy the diesel was won by BP Oil. But it was not
possible to agree some points in the contract with that company. Therefore a
contract was signed with another participant in the tender - Total," the
source said. BP Oil bought the 200,000 tonne diesel consignment from SOCAR in
2004. Azerbaijan has two oil refineries with capacity for 22m tonnes of oil per
year. The Azerneftyag refinery can process 14m tonnes and the Baku Oil Refinery
can process eight million tonnes.